A life coach reflects on the importance of being around women you can call heroes and how they can lead you to be better

I love the wave of positivity that follows International Women’s Day every March. I love the spotlight that it shines on all the strong, inspiring women around the world and how it encourages others to take a stand, be confident and believe in themselves. No other occasion creates a stronger sense of pride and community amongst women.

The United Nations first marked this important day in 1975, and every year since then the world has celebrated the things that make women so uniquely and undeniably fabulous. Even as we fight to eradicate gender stereotypes and demand equal rights, it’s important that we honour the women who inspire us.

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I used to believe that inspiration came solely from someone who could change the world, or who had a plethora of awards to their name. But I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Everyone has a story, a struggle, or a journey that you can learn from. We can be inspired by just about any woman in our lives, from our daughters to our domestic helpers who uproot their lives to work and support their families from afar.

Women have the natural ability to express how they feel and uplift those around them. They can bring people together and make them feel empowered. When we celebrate women, we try to find the similarities that we share with them. These ties can fuel our own sense of purpose.

Learning about women who amaze me is what keeps me motivated. I recently finished reading a book called Three Sisters, which recounts the story of real-life siblings who survive the Holocaust together. One sister, in particular, showed incredible strength and served as the pillar and guide for her siblings, helping them see each day through.

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I spoke to my children about this extraordinary woman and described her unbelievable grit and determination to live, which ultimately kept her alive. While reading the book, I could feel sparks burning inside me. It made me question my own character, strength, body and mind. I wanted to be stronger; I want to challenge myself more. Just reading someone else’s life story can move you to change things about yourself.

Closer to home, an inspiring figure in my life is my daughter Lara. As a child, she was really the most difficult little person I had ever dealt with—and that’s coming from someone who has lived in many countries and experienced all kinds of challenges. Nothing prepared me for this girl entering my life. She was difficult, stubborn and strong-headed. But as she grew out of her terrible twos, threes and fours, and entered her pre-teen years, I have to say I became in awe of her.

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Lara is by no means perfect, but she does possess incredible strength and confidence to be herself, to speak her mind and to know right from wrong. She has determination and grit beyond her years. Often, I look at her and imagine my 12-year-old self next to her and tell her I wish there were more young girls just like her to inspire others her age.

She has an innate ability to protect her loved ones at all costs and she won’t back down on anyone or anything. I wish that as a young girl, I had known more girls like that. I deeply admire Lara’s courage to speak up, understand the world, fight for justice and strive to be the best version of herself. My daughter inspires me every day.

I encourage you to look up to not just those far-out, superstar women who are changing the world, but also someone in your tribe—someone that you see everyday and who makes you want to be better. Tell these wonderful women what they do for you. Write letters or small notes to the women in your family, your girlfriends and even your colleagues. We can get just as much pleasure as our recipients from telling them about the impact that they have  made on us.

Finally, write a letter to yourself. Each and every single one of us has a story, a past and an incredible future. We need to acknowledge ourselves and our accomplishments and celebrate them—if not every day, then at least on International Women’s Day.

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